Clinton McGoldrick Becomes First Aboriginal Deacon In Brisbane’s Archdiocese

Clinton McGoldrick
Photo credit: Archdiocese of Brisbane/Facebook

Deacon Clinton McGoldrick has made history as the first Indigenous man to serve in the Brisbane diocese, after being ordained at St Stephen’s Cathedral in November 2022.


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Deacon McGoldrick’s wife, Karley and their two sons, came to support him at his ordination to the permanent diaconate on 26 November 2022, along with friends and fellow deacons and priests.

Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge, who led the ordination, said that through Deacon McGoldrick, as an Aboriginal man, God might teach the rest of us, the Church and others, what it means to befriend and love the Indigenous peoples, the First Nations of this land.

Deacon Clinton McGoldrick found Archbishop Coleridge’s words moving and said it was an amazing day not just for him but for many Indigenous people who were in the congregation.

In his ordination, he brought a picture of St Oscar Romero, who was known as the “voice for the voiceless.” Just like St Oscar Romero, Deacon McGoldrick believes his call and mission was to use his voice on behalf of the voiceless.

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“Certainly there’s a lot of Indigenous Catholics in Australia and even so in Brisbane and I hope they see (ordained ministry) as a new way to express their vocation or spirituality,” he said.

He believes this new role is a very rigorous and lengthy process and there are not too many Indigenous people who can meet the requirements and commit to that process for various reasons.

“To be somebody who has been able to successfully navigate that program, I want that to be a sign to other people to say, ‘I can do that as well,” he said.


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Deacon McGoldrick’s ministry would centre on army chaplaincy. He will transition to Full Time Chaplaincy in the Australian Army in mid-January 2023 and will be based at Gallipoli Barracks, Enoggera.